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Security Portal: Linux Viruses: Overview

Sep 20, 2000, 20:35 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kurt Seifried)

"Viruses are, by definition, malicious pieces of code that replicate themselves. They can do this through a variety of methods, including "infecting" other executable files or spreading macros and other forms of executable content (e.g. JPEGs). Viruses are most commonly spread by users sharing files, which is especially easy with email, and with such a wide variety of content being available on Web and FTP servers."

"Most viruses do not really gain the author anything - they simply damage data and computer systems. Very few do anything, like stealing passwords or implementing backdoors (although this is changing, especially with distributed denial of service tools becoming very popular). Currently, the most common viruses are mostly macro viruses for Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, and Access, for a number of reasons...."

"The best defenses against Linux viruses are as follows:

Do not run software or other executable content from untrusted sources. This includes Java and JavaScript in Web pages and documents, rpm's and dpkg's from unknown sites, and compiling and installing untrusted source code...."

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